4

How - and When - the West Was Won

"It's Time", meet "It's Over."

With an 11-4 thumping of the Detroit Tigers last night - combined with the Oakland A's loss in Kansas City - the Texas Rangers won their first American League West division championship since 1999.

I know the magic number is 10 and there are still 18 games remaining, so you can't quite yet put that little x by the Rangers in the standings indicated a clinch.

But with a nine-game lead, the Rangers could go - yep - 9-9 the final 2 1/2 weeks and Oakland would have to go - yep - 18-0 just to force a one-game playoff.

Chill the champagne. Or, what the hell, we've been waiting long enough. Let's go ahead and pop it.

A collapse at this point would rank amongst the all-timers: The 2007 Mets blowing a seven-game lead on September 13 by losing 15 of their last 17; and the '64 Philliest losing a 6.5-game lead with 12 to go by dropping their last 10 games.

As a guy who in spring training back in Surprise, Arizona in March picked this team to win 92 games and the division, I'm not surprised. But I am on the verge of being really happy.

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